Thank you, Guidestar, for hearing our concerns
It’s been a very interesting week.
My post on Tuesday, “My worst nightmare is now true, sloppy ratings ratings of nonprofit effectiveness in Hatii,” and a storm of Tweets generated quite a bit of attention.
As Tuesday’s post explains, after my first critique, Guidestar changed their hastily constructed home page listing Top Ten Relief Organizations Working in Haiti, which I strongly debated the evidence for, to a somewhat more accurate Most Reviewed Relief Organizations in Haiti.
After a long conversation this afternoon with Debra Snider, Guidestar’s VP of Communications and Administration, and Shari Ilsen, Director of Marketing and Outreach at GreatNonprofits, Guidestar made the laudable decision to drop the listing altogether.
Now when you land on Guidestar’s homepage and scroll down, you’ll see Disaster Action Center and encouragement to post a review if you have firsthand experience with an organization working in Haiti. A link takes you to the site of GreatNonprofits.
Why is this so much better?
- Guidestar is no longer implying that simply because 10 organizations received more reviews than 25 others that the reviewed organizations are somehow more worthy of your giving. (My point: Once they call out a top list, even if they don’t say it directly, the donor infers that somehow this list is more special than the rest).
- Dropping “received the most reviews” eliminated the task of keeping that list revolving and accurate. (It wasn’t.)
- As Guidestar’s intent was to help increase the number of reviews received by GreatNonprofits, this new configuration achieves the same goal without the baggage of implied ratings. I’d also suggest that it is clearer and probably will be more effective at accomplishing that goal.
- Guidestar can still offer the longer informational list they compiled of organizations that are working on relief and recovery (or longer term development) in Haiti, without trying to assess their effectiveness. This doesn’t compromise Guidestar’s valued credibility and keeps up what Guidestar is best known for — providing us with credible information on organizations and educating us about how we can make our own informed giving decisions.
Do I still have concerns about Amazon style rating systems? Absolutely. But we can talk about that at another time.
Thank you, Guidestar (and Debra), for hearing my concerns — which aren’t just my concerns, but include a rising tide of very concerned individuals with deep reservations about intermediary rating systems of nonprofit effectiveness.